Own a piece of history from the Ebony Fashion Fair

If you’ve been reading this blog any length of time, you know my love for all things Ebony. Recently someone asked me if “black history” was my beat as a journalist and I politely explained that it was not. I see history as history: all entries and moments are important.  Ebony and the Ebony Fashion Fair are definitely a part of that.  It saddens me that the fashion show no longer struts and sashays through towns and cities. However, thanks to an auction to be held this Wednesday, we have the opportunity to bid on “the best of the best” from the archives.

Here’s more on the Ebony Fashion Fair:

Haute couture by Oscar de la Renta, Yves St. Laurent, Christian Dior, Givenchy, Lanvin, Carolina Herrera  and more are among over 500 lots up for auction. The collection includes gowns, cocktail dresses, coats, capes, separates and shoes.  And yes: the pieces have all the detail and drama you may recall if you ever attended one of the charity shows. The sale of these beautiful pieces will go on to benefit education just as they did in the past: a portion of proceeds will go to Johnson Prep. The live auction is to be conduction by Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, and will begin at noon CST on June 10.

To view the catalog, click HERE. Note, you must register ahead of time in order to bid.

Did you know? Mrs. Eunice Johnson, the show’s founder and driving force, was a Selma, Ala. native. She was educated at Talladega College.

All images via the Treasures from the Ebony Fashion Fair Collection. See them all by clicking HERE.

#TBT: Ebony Fashion Fair

Raise your hand if you ever attended and Ebony Fashion Fair extravaganza. I miss this experience…and after having spent a semester researching Ebony, I miss it all the more. It was a social occasion that called for one’s finest ensemble-including one’s fur coat-and it presented an opportunity to see haute couture up close, something rare in Mobile and Pensacola.

Ebony Fashion Fair was the brainchild of Selma-native Eunice Walker Johnson, who was educated at Talladega College. It began in 1958 as a fundraiser for a New Orleans hospital and grew to travel to over 200 cities, raising millions for charities in the process. To see some of the glamour for yourself, the Chicago History Museum has a traveling exhibit entitled “Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair.” It’s currently in Atlanta through January 4, 2015. It features pieces from Valentino, Ungaro, Pierre Cardin, Dior, Emilio Pucci and Givenchy.

You may have heard the news that Kathy Griffin will replace Joan Rivers on E!’s Fashion Police. Brad Goreski will replace George Kotsiopoulos. While I enjoy Griffin’s sense of humor, I think this was a missed opportunity to diversify the cast. The Ebony Fashion Fair made diversity visible on and off the runway, and I believe Mrs. Johnson was ahead of her time.

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Fashion Flashback: Fashion Fair Cosmetics

Ahhh, Fashion Fair!  Just the name brings back memories of ladylike pink compacts and lipstick cases, of berry lipsticks and frosty eyeshadows.  Visiting Miss Ann at the makeup counter in Pensacola’s Gayfers department store was always a treat, because she would make sure we left loaded with free samples!  I couldn’t wait to grow up just so Miss Ann could make me over.  For women who came of age before MAC, Lancome, and other department store cosmetic brands catered to women of color, Fashion Fair celebrated our glamour in all its hues (just as its creators’ – Mr. and Mrs. John H. Johnson – showcased the best of African-American lifestyles in Ebony magazine each month).   The prestige brand has recently enjoyed a resurgence, and veteran celeb makeup artist Sam Fine  has been named creative director.   Take a look back at some of Fashion Fair’s chic vintage ads below (featuring Diahann Carroll, Nancy Wilson,  Natalie Cole and Aretha Franklin)!

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Images courtesy of Vintage Black Glamour

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